Don’t panic! There is so much more to keeping fit and healthy than slugging it out at your local gym. Of course, daily exercise should be an important element of everyone’s health and fitness regime and we’ll talk more about that later, but first, let me assure you that this blog is as much about what goes on in your head as it’s aimed at encouraging you to work out more.
So, here goes – these are our top health and fitness tips for all you retireistas out there:
The older we get, the greater the role our mind plays in determining our well-being. The mind and body are inextricably linked and there’s plenty of research out there that substantiates the belief that our thoughts, choices and experiences can influence our tendency to be healthy or become ill. That’s not to say that illnesses are ‘caused’ by our thoughts, but there’s little doubt that a positive outlook can contribute to our enjoyment of a longer, healthier life. How? By helping to reduce stress, lower rates of depression and improve cardiovascular health.
It’s also true that those with a positive outlook on life tend to maintain healthier lifestyles through diet, exercise and social interaction.
Healthy Tip # 1: Think and act young
Remember – 60 is the new 40. You don’t become old simply because you reach a milestone birthday. Being old is a state of mind. And we Retireistas refuse to accept harmful stereotypes like aging!
Healthy Tip # 2: Have a laugh
Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, our bodies’ natural feel-good chemicals. In doing so, it can immediately ward off stress and anxiety. Laughter actually reduces the production of stress hormones and boosts the immune system.
It’s great to share your laughter with family and friends, but you can nurture a happy disposition on your own too. Watch a funny film or DVD (who’s your favourite stand-up comedian?), read a funny book, play with a pet, or, if all else fails – fake it! Simply smile and have a chuckle just for the hell of it.
Healthy Tip # 3: Find your passion
Whether it’s stamp collecting, tracing your family tree, sport (participating or following) or some other hobby, hobby horse or cause, dig deep, seek it out and make it your own. If you can get enthusiastic about something you care about, it’ll give you energy, improve your mood and help you sleep better.
Many believe finding your passion is essential for brain health, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive impairment in later life.
Healthy Tip # 4: Keep your brain busy
Giving your brain a regular workout is as important as your physical work out at the gym. Try reading a book a month – and make sure you read something you want to read and not what you think you should. And if books aren’t your thing, try a crossword, quiz or sudoku puzzle. Or how about learning a language, listening to music or taking up a hobby like drawing, painting, sculpture or creative writing?
There are plenty of other ideas online – simply google ‘keeping the brain healthy’ and take your pick!
Healthy Tip # 5: Eat well
Feed your brain and body for optimal health. Choose a nutrient rich diet to boost brain power and a healthy, balanced diet to keep your body in peak condition too.
Choose fresh, unprocessed food whenever possible, drink plenty of fluids (especially water) and eat a colourful array of fruit and vegetables. Add lots of fibrous whole grains into the mix, lean meat and oily fish in moderation and minimise your intake of processed and junk food.
… And finally
Finally, of course, there is the ‘E’ word. At the beginning of this blog I promised not to push exercise down your throat. But if you really want to take control of your health, there’s no avoiding the fact that exercise in some form or other is essential. It improves joint mobility, increases physical strength and energy, enhances sleep, improves cognitive functions and helps to prevent illness and disease. What’s not to like? So …
Healthy Tip # 6: Get off the sofa
Remember that as the years pass by, we naturally loose muscle mass. This means our metabolisms slow down, which can lead to weight gain and all that implies when it comes to ill health.
We need to move more – get more active than ever before – simply to stay as we are. So, if you haven’t already, take the plunge today. (Literally, perhaps. After all, swimming rates very highly as a great all-round workout).
Going to the gym is great. You can take advantage of expert advice from the personal trainers there. They’ll motivate you and give you loads of confidence. But the gym isn’t the only option. Walking the dog and dancing with friends both count as well. As do a myriad of other activities.
The important thing is to do SOMETHING! Try a new activity, head outdoors, get a workout buddy. Do whatever it takes to get motivated and enjoy yourself – that’s what our Retireista life is all about!